The average cost to set up an LLC is $132. This is the one-time filing fee that creates the LLC by state law.
The map, chart, and table below show the LLC filing costs in all 50 states, plus Washington DC.
The cheapest state to start an LLC in is Kentucky, with a $40 filing fee. The most expensive state to form an LLC in is Massachusetts, with a $500 filing fee.
Illinois used to have a $500 filing fee as well, but in 2017, the Illinois Secretary of State brought the filing fee down to $150, in order to be more in line with the national average.
There are 10 states with a $100 filing fee and 8 states with a $50 filing fee.
Note: These numbers don’t include additional LLC fees, such as LLC Annual Fees and registered agent fees (if needed). More on those additional LLC costs below.
Cost to set up an LLC:
|State LLC||State LLC Filing Cost|
|California LLC|| |
|Montana LLC|| |
|New Hampshire LLC||$100|
|New Jersey LLC||$125|
|New Mexico LLC||$50|
|New York LLC||$200|
|North Carolina LLC||$125|
|North Dakota LLC||$135|
|Rhode Island LLC||$150|
|South Carolina LLC||$110|
|South Dakota LLC||$150|
|Washington DC LLC||$99|
|West Virginia LLC||$100|
Where Should I Form a LLC?
A lot of readers see the chart above and think they should form an LLC in a different state in order to save money.
Forming your LLC outside of your home state (or the state where you are doing business) will end up costing you far more in the long-run.
For example, if you live and do business in California, but form an LLC in Wyoming, the state of California will require you to register your Wyoming LLC in the state of California. This is called a “Foreign LLC Registration”.
The means you now have to pay 2 state filing fees, 2 state annual report fees, and maintain a Registered Agent in Wyoming (where you don’t have an actual physical presence).
Worse, you won’t save any money on taxes because taxes are paid where the money is made, meaning you’ll still end up paying California taxes anyway.
To learn more about Domestic LLCs, Foreign LLCs, and where you should start your LLC, please read this article: best state to start an LLC.
There are a few exceptions to this rule
Legally doing business
If you are legally doing business in a state besides your home state, then you should form your LLC there. For example, if you live in Ohio, but own restaurants in Pennsylvania, then you should form your LLC(s) in Pennsylvania.
If you are going to own or lease property in another state, then that is where you should form your LLC, since that is where you are legally doing business.
There are no citizenship or residency requirements to forming an LLC in the US. If your LLC won’t have a physical presence or physical activities in the US, you can pick any state you’d like. If your LLC will have a physical presence (like an office) or physical activities, then you should form the LLC in the state where you are doing business.
We have more information for non-US residents here:
How a non-US resident can get an EIN for a US LLC
How a non-US resident can get a bank account for a US LLC
Form 5472 for Single-Member LLC non-US resident LLC
A note for US residents and US citizens who work online
If you work online or work from home you are still doing business in your home state, so it’s best to form an LLC in your home state. If you form an LLC in another state, it will need to be registered as a foreign LLC in your home state. If you’re looking to move, you should consider a state like Texas. Yes, the state filing fee is higher, but there are no personal state taxes in Texas. Here’s our complete guide on how to start an LLC in Texas.
LLC Registered Agent Fees
You need to list a Registered Agent on your LLC filing form in nearly all states (except for New York and West Virginia).
A Registered Agent is a person or company who agrees to accept Service of Process (legal and court mail) in the event your LLC is sued.
If you or someone you know has an address in the state where you are forming your LLC, then you/they can serve as your LLC’s Registered Agent (and this will save you money).
If you don’t have an address in the state where you’re starting an LLC, or you prefer to hire a professional, you can use the services of a Commercial Registered Agent.
Although Commercial Registered Agent fees can be as high as $360 per year, the two companies that we recommend only charge $99 per year and $125 per year.
Initial LLC Filing Requirements
The LLC fees above are just the filing costs.
Many states have Initial Filing Requirements, which are usually due within 1-6 months after the LLC is created (in addition to ongoing Annual Report requirements.)
Here are a few examples:
• For California LLCs, you must file a Statement of Information ($20) within 90 days of your LLC being created.
• For Alaska LLCs, you must obtain a State Business License after your LLC is formed, but before you conduct any business.
Those are just a few examples. Not all states have Initial Filing Requirements, but many states do.
For more details on your state’s LLC set up and filing costs, see our free step-by-step LLC guides.